When I first started consulting back in 2004, I was rightfully and narrowly focused on finding project work for myself. I knew what my expertise was and set off to sell it to those who might need my services. Luckily, I had some success and found out pretty quickly that you don’t have to be the round peg to fill a round hole, if you learned to develop trust with clients.
Some of my favorite projects were ones where I didn’t have expertise but brought a good attitude, demonstrated that I was a quick learner, and did right by the customer (like not charging them for my learning time). It’s true what they say about limits — you are the only person who truly limits what you can do. As we grow older, we become very good at limiting ourselves.
As we’ve expanded our company, I’ve found that I’m using two skills more and more: being a good listener and being a connector of people. When I meet with a prospective client, I no longer think in terms of “What can I personally do?” but “Do I know someone who can do this job well?” This approach has maximized my value exponentially because even if I can’t help a client (or my team), I usually know someone who can.
It used to be that I brought my bag of brand management, product management and Internet marketing skills to every meeting. Now I can bring that, plus an extra bag of all the people we have at EM Marketing (and our partners) to every meeting. I’m always looking to partner with other people and companies with the same approach.
Needless to say, it’s much easier to find the round pegs these days!